This article reviews research on the evaluation of women and men who occupy leadership roles. In these experiments, the characteristics of leaders other than their sex were held constant, and the sex of the leader was varied. These experiments thus investigated whether people are biased against female leaders and managers. Although this research showed only a small overall tendency for subjects to evaluate female leaders less favorably than male leaders, this tendency was more pronounced under certain circumstances. Specifically, women in leadership positions were devalued relative to their male counterparts when leadership was carried out in stereotypically masculine styles, particularly when this style was autocratic or directive. In addition, the devaluation of women was greater when leaders occupied male-dominated roles and when the evaluators were men. These and other findings are interpreted from a perspective that emphasizes the influence of gender roles within organizational settings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas